My heart pumps rhythmically, as does yours, and aches when sadness strikes. I am stressed and discouraged when I feel I have no control over an illness that invades my body.  Is this not true for you as you lay in your bed at night, feeling that "your best was not good enough" to help your patient? We enter this world and we will leave it someday; our mortality confronts us. Our ...

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Yes Virginia, there are still some doctors who truly care for their patients. On December 13, 1993, my husband Bill was playing golf.  Early in his round, he suffered a massive heart attack.  Bill was 56 years old.  Thanks to the staff and emergency room staff's quick action, Bill was stabilized by the ER physician.  That same afternoon, Bill suffered a second heart attack, and Dr. Robert Barden performed Bill’s first angioplasty. To make a ...

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"The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head." - Sir William Osler One of the most sacred and intimate relationships is that which exists between patient and physician. A patient shares feelings and fears as he traverses the path of illness or chronic disease. As roadblocks in health emerge, a patient looks ...

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I taught myself as a child how to lip read.  I needed something to help me know what was going on around me other than relying on my hearing aids.  I went to a deaf school as a kindergartner for all of three months and hated it, so my parents switched me over to the local public school system.  I was the first deaf student to be mainstreamed in that ...

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I walk this dark and winding path between wellness and illness, moving between darkness and light on this journey of life. As I move between well-being and an uneasy state of uncertainty, a roller-coaster of emotions moves over me. I am brought to my knees with doubt, restlessness, discontent, anger, and fear. At times, I feel heavy with the weight of the world upon my shoulders; other moments, I feel ...

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Let me begin by extending my gratitude to all physicians who have served our country during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. During this trying time, your dedication and service have given a sense of stability and confidence in our health care systems at a time filled with so much uncertainty and turmoil. As a member of the "Baby Boomer" generation, I've seen my fair share of physicians over the years. ...

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"I write in my book, 'I know from experience that nothing positive comes from directing blame at yourself.' When it comes to chronic illness (which includes chronic pain), it’s crucial to remember that you are not the enemy. Anyone can get sick, physically or mentally, and anybody can develop chronic pain. ...

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"What on earth are we doing here, folks? To try to save a tanking economy, workers were sent back to their jobs much too early, causing again a spike in cases of the virus. I realize that the loss of a paycheck is a major traumatic situation for any breadwinner, but so is the loss of life. Our doctors and nurses are ...

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"Eventually, this thankfully passed. Now, almost three years later, I know that this loss will always be with us. Miriam was beautiful, she was our only girl, she was perfect for our family, and she’s always missing. Still, my memories of being in the hospital are incredibly sad but also peaceful. In part, this is due to the incredible support and love ...

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"In the best of times (and these are certainly not), all patients need advocates all the time; now more than ever, vulnerable patients need them more but don’t have access to them. Vulnerable populations have more at stake when visitors are limited or prohibited. What’s more, vulnerability may be exacerbated due to youth, advanced age, disability, cognitive impairment, illness acuity, language ...

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I’m writing this piece partly to celebrate the release of my new book, How to Be Sick: Your Pocket Companion, and partly, as always, to try and help readers. I thought I would share the challenges that the book covers, adding some comments as I go. Many of the challenges turn out to apply to the restricted lives all of us are leading in light of ...

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"When doctors ignore the evidence showing that a support system doesn’t have to be traditional in order to be effective, that’s not a medical judgment. It’s a personal prejudice that puts singles at serious risk. Classifying patients as married or unmarried when studying the effects of social support undoubtedly makes research easier, with groups determined by a simplistic either-or. But since social ...

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The third week of September is Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week: a time to fundraise, light up buildings in green, and hold events that highlight mitochondrial disease research and awareness. My family has never heard of mitochondrial disease until 2017, when our newborn daughter, Miriam, tragically died from it at seven weeks old. Our family felt a profound sense of loss and tried out best to participate in awareness and fundraising efforts ...

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“Time is generally the best doctor,” according to the Roman poet Ovid. But these days, in the middle of the pandemic, what doctor has time? Health care professionals already have 29-hour days. In many places, hospitals are at or near capacity because of Covid-19 cases. Some hospitals and staff are functioning in crisis mode; chaos reigns, particularly in areas where the surge came on suddenly.  As a result, clinicians are stretched ...

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"Each morning before the doctors came in for rounds; I’d paint feverishly whatever abstraction came to mind and what evolved from my situation. When I completed my pieces, I felt like I had not only gotten out my frustrations and worry, but also found a place of joy and gratitude. I would put each canvas outside my hospital room, and soon ...

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In cancer language, it’s not unusual for the medical or scientific meaning of a word to be different from the way the same word is understood in everyday language. Sometimes the difference reflects a focus on populations vs. individuals, and in that case, the context in which the term is used is critical. Media reports often add to the confusion by failing to clarify these differences. Here are five frequently used ...

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Ed is not from Kentucky. I believe he told me he is from West Virginia and from a very low-income family. At about 15, he was hit by a car and paralyzed from the waist down. He's now about 30. But for a guy in a wheelchair, he is nothing short of remarkable for what he gets done. He goes everywhere, either by his own strength or by bus, even on ...

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It is a special group, a mish-mash of medical professionals all with a common purpose: Honing the ability to practice medicine in a more empathetic and compassionate manner, which will benefit both the patient and the professional alike. All meet to share viewpoints, share feelings, share the"what might have been." Sessions are first given over to close examinations of selected prose, poetry, art, or music. Reflecting upon what is placed before them, ...

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As a relatively healthy Medicare patient, I do not visit doctors often. I have had digestive issues most of my life — probably from too many antibiotics when I was a child with recurring strep throat, or so I'm told. My husband and I had just returned from living out of state for two months while he was treated with proton therapy for cancer. My stress levels were high. I was not resting well ...

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Embarrassment is a feeling of awkward self-consciousness or shame. It manifests as a sense of discomfort or even foolishness around others. Feeling embarrassed is emotionally painful because it means you feel uncomfortable with yourself. The problem with embarrassment is that it adds a layer of mental suffering to the difficulties you’re already facing with your health. Here are four reasons why those of us who are chronically ill feel embarrassed at ...

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